… served with asparagus and spring onions.
My Instagram feed has been flooded with Romesco Sauce for the last month or so with a lot of people gushing about the amazing flavour from it. Honestly, I have never tasted it so I had to do my research to see what is involved. It is a sauce that originates from Catalonia in Spain and it is traditionally made by pounding peppers, nuts, garlic and bread together with a mortar and pestle. It is claimed that fishermen in the area created the sauce to eat with fish. The flavours are absolutely gorgeous! It goes well with fish, chicken and vegetables. It is particularly nice with charred food from the barbeque as the smoky flavours go so well together. I served it here with asparagus and spring onions cooked on a griddle pan and it was delicious. The idea was to make the most of what’s left of asparagus season and also based on a dish from Moro restaurant, where Sam and Sam Clarke serve this with Calcots. Calcots are a type of green onion native to Catalonia.
This recipe is very flexible, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive recipe. Most use Nora chillies which are native to Spain but I think I’d be at a real stretch to find them in my locality! I’ve used dried Ancho chillies instead which you can get Tesco among other places. If you can’t get these just use a dried red chilli instead. You can make this as thick as you like or thin the sauce with more olive oil. You can use a mortar and pestle but if you have a food processor, use that and make life easy! Store in the fridge in an airtight jar and bring up to room temperature before using.
If you are not sure what to use it with, have a look on Pinterest or Instagram for some inspiration.
Makes approx. 300ml
- 50g blanched almonds
- 25g hazelnuts
- 1 slice of old bread
- Olive oil
- 1 dried ancho chilli
- A pinch of saffron infused in approx. 50ml boiling water
- 1 clove of garlic
- 3 roasted red peppers
- 1 tomato
- 1 tbsp. of sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- A pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp. of your best quality extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Tear up the bread and place this with the nuts on the baking tray. Drizzle a little olive oil over the bread.
- Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until the bread pieces are golden and the nuts have toasted slightly and become fragrant.
- While they are roasting, rehydrate the chilli. Remove the stem and seeds from the chilli and put it into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for about 15 minutes. Infuse the saffron in another bowl.
- If you are roasting the peppers yourself, add the tomato when you pop them in the oven. If you are using jarred peppers, heat the tomato in a hot dry non stick pan until the skin begins to blacken and blister. Remove and set aside to cool.
- When the bread and nuts are ready, tip them with the garlic into the food processor and blitz until they are like sand.
- Remove the chill from the water and slice into pieces. Add this with the saffron and its water, the peppers, tomato, vinegar, paprika and salt to the food processor and run the processor until all combined. It’s nice to leave a little bit of texture in the sauce.
- Slowly add the olive oil while the motor is running to emulsify the sauce and until you have the consistency you want.
- Pour into a clip top jar and when cool store in the fridge.
In the picture on top, I have simply mixed some olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and coated the asparagus and onion in the oil. Heat a griddle pan to high and cook them on it until they have charred.